As a matter of fact, yes, I am. I've been thinking lately about some of the things I actually do miss about the US, so I'm making a list. All of you who have intentions of someday coming to Taiwan, take note. Should there be an item here that you cannot live without, best bring it along. This post will be limited to food items, and there will be a future post dealing with other things.
10/1/05 additional "misses"
a. Great Harvest bread. Do you know how difficult it is to find bread here? Oh, sure, I can find white bread and bread filled with things like red bean paste or shredded pork, but finding good, hearty, wholesome bread is difficult. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to find a weak type of wheat bread at the local bakery, but it's just not the same.
b. Crunchy Cheetos. They have weirdly flavored ones here, don't taste the same. Thank goodness the Lay's potato chips are about the same :)
c. Baskin-Robbins ice cream.....
d. Salt shakers on the table in the restaurants. Man, I love salt, and hardly any restaurant here has salt shakers. Some of the "western" style ones do, like Chili's, but I rarely go there.
e. US salad bars. Tried the local Sizzler the other day with Hiyoshi. Not too bad, but rather expensive (almost $10US) and not nearly the salad selection as in the States. They had some interesting items, though, and it was tasty. Which brings us to.....
f. Real salad dressing! Oh, for a bottle of Bleu Cheese or Roquefort dressing, or Ranch, or even a good Caesar (which, thankfully, they did have at Sizzler). The most popular type in Taiwan is (yuck) Thousand Island. I hate it. And on the teeniest bowl of salad they will dump one cup of dressing. Bleah!
1. USA diet Pepsi. Yes, it's different there. It's not easy finding any sugar-free sodas here, and even when I found Pepsi, it didn't taste good. Luckily, the diet Coke is better here than in the US, so I'm drinking that.
2. Splenda. Apparently, since the majority of the population here is so much thinner than Americans, they see little need for artificial sweeteners. I've seen some aspartame-based ones in the grocery stores, but I really like Splenda. I brought a small supply with me, but it's fast running out.
3. International Delight liquid flavored coffee creamers. Oh my, I really miss those. I knew they weren't to be found here, and I'd bought quite a few boxes of the individual hazelnut flavored ones, the kind that don't need refrigeration, thinking to bring them with me. Well, it turned out they were all spoiled. That's what I get for buying them at the discount store! Crap.
4. Monin Zero Free Hazelnut Syrup. Now, see, if I had this, I'd make my own creamer, because we have the plain non-dairy liquid creamer here. Again, serious lack of sugar-free items. I've found regular Monin, but of course it's a) loaded with sugar and b) expensive. I did use it for awhile, but decided I needed to cut my sugar intake, so now I have plain, boring coffee everyday. Pooh.
5. Kashi brand cereals. I love Kashi - Kashi Go-Lean, Kashi Good Friends, Kashi Go-Lean Crunch. Loaded with soy protein and very low in fat and sugars. Can I find it here? No. I'm left with Kellogg's Muesli, which is a poor substitute. And again, cereal is expensive, because it's imported. It's not that I don't love Taiwan style breakfasts, oh no. I just think I need more fiber and less fat in my diet!
6. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. If you've read previous entries, you already know they're hard to find and hella expensive. But hey, I don't really need all that fat and sugar so I guess it's a good thing. I can always munch peanut M&Ms, although they taste a bit different here. 10/1/05 edit: Found these, and they're not too expensive! Yay, now I can fulfill the craving - and if I make myself walk to Wellman's, then I earn the treat :)
7. David & Sons sunflower seeds. I want my salt! I tried sunflower seeds here, and they are just YUCK! No salt, bleah. I should have brought one suitcase full of David & Sons with me, cuz they're simply the best.
8. Joint Juice. OK, well, it's not exactly a food, but that brand of liquid glucosamine is the best, and it tastes like drinking juice. I was hoping the Costco here would have it, but they don't. I brought along a couple bottles of another type of liquid glucosamine, but it's pretty nasty tasting. I know the pills are next to useless, but once I run out of the liquid, I'll try dissolving the pills and drinking them.
9. Sour cream. Can't believe how difficult it is to find this here. I want to make a cheesecake for a friend, and this is just not a popular food! I heard there's a store in Tien Mu that has it, so I'll see. Maybe they have graham cracker crumbs, too, because I also need those.
10. Laura Scudder's or Adam's peanut butter, just peanuts & salt, nothing else. All the peanut butter here is that nasty Jiff or Skippy with added sugar. Bleah.
11. Honey. Well, cheap honey. It's not non-existent, it's just extremely expensive.
12. Weight Watchers vanilla milkshake mixes. Who would have thought I'd miss those? But I do! They're so good in the summer, and there's so much good fresh fruit here that I could be adding to them. Dang. Poor planning on my part.
13. Sierra Nevada beer. Don't get me wrong, I totally love Taiwan Beer and the Japanese brands, but once in awhile a nice cold SN Wheat or Pale Ale would taste pretty good.
14. Good, inexpensive white wine. Not only is wine pricey here, it's not very good when you buy the cheaper ones (minimum is about $10 US per bottle). Such a shame they don't have something like Two-Buck Chuck here (such a shame they don't have a Trader Joe's here, boo). I'd be willing to pay for a nice Fetzer Gerwurtztriminer (and I'm sure that's not spelled correctly) if I could find one, but red wine seems to be the popular one, and the most common white is chardonnay, which I don't like as much.
15. Casa Ramos margaritas. Hell, Casa Ramos food and margaritas! Good Mexican food is not to be found anywhere here, or at least I haven't found it yet. Tried two places - one was merely OK, one sucked. The margarita at the merely OK place was marginal. However, I've found Jose Cuervo tequila and Rose's Lime Juice, so once I find that bottle of Grand Marnier (surely someone sells it), I'll be mixing up my own margaritas at home. Sadly, I can't cook Mexican food, and even if I could, I wouldn't be able to find the ingredients.
16. Rosarita Fat-Free Refried Beans. 'Nuff said.
Now I've made myself hungry, so I think I'll go make a grilled cheese sandwich for din-din.
Tuesday, September 13, 8:30 p.m., after thinking some more.....about all kinds of food that just isn't good for me and I should be thankful I can't find it here.
17. Lynda Cameron's baked goods. Oh dearie....
18. The Upper Crust's peanut butter/chocolate chip cookies and their chocolate-dipped hazelnut biscotti. And their Chocolate Rum Raspberry Oblivion cake! And their broccoli-bacon-raisin salad! Oh heck, I just miss the whole shop.
19. The Council meeting leftovers on Wednesday mornings ;)
20. Mexican Mochas from Has-Beans. We have Starbucks here, but none of their drinks taste quite like the US versions, not really sure why. But no one made a better Mexican Mocha than Has-Beans. I do have some of their cocoa, but I still haven't bought an espresso machine. But when I do, I'm making some!
21. Morning Glory muffins and Tuna-Wasabi sandwiches from Cafe Flo.
22. Pepperoni pizza. OK, so there is pizza in Taiwan, and some of it is pretty darned good (but weird by US standards). However, when I went to Pizza Hut with a friend for their buffet and saw what passed for Double Pepperoni, I was in shock. Sheesh, if there were six slices of pepperoni on the whole pizza, that was pushing it. Hate to see what Single Pepperoni is like.
23. Taco Bell. Never thought I'd miss a fast-food joint, but I do miss this one. At least the McDonald's and KFC and Burger King here have tastier food than their US counterparts (not that I frequent these places, but once in a blue moon get talked into going). Hm, wonder if Taco Bell would like to sell me a franchise for Taipei?
Dang it, I've gone and made myself hungry again. Guess it's time for dinner.